A Squat Rack at an Outdoor Gym

Are you bored with your same ol’, same ol’ workout routine?

Are you looking for a way to build muscle and level up your fitness? Or maybe you’re just curious about this new sport that’s been popping up everywhere lately. Whatever’s motivated you to come here, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about streetlifting for beginners.

Streetlifting is a blend of gritty street workouts and explosive strength training. This unique strength sport combines the dynamic movements of weighted calisthenics with powerlifting, offering a full-body workout that targets different muscle groups.

Streetlifting not only promotes muscle growth and functional strength but also boosts your overall fitness levels through its adrenaline-pumping exercises.

As a beginner, navigating the world of streetlifting might seem intimidating. I’ve designed this guide to help you start streetlifting safely and effectively. I’ll walk you through the key elements of streetlifting (push-ups, pull-ups, using weight plates, and more). I’ll also cover the essentials of bodyweight training.

Man in Gray Tank Top and Black Shorts Lifting Weight Plate on a Chain

Whether your training goal is weight loss, building strength, or simply enhancing your overall fitness, this guide will set you on the path to crushing your goals.

What Makes Streetlifting Different

Although streetlifting came from merging weighted calisthenics with powerlifting, it’s becoming its own unique strength sport.

Bodybuilding has some things in common with streetlifting, but the two sports are still vastly different. Streetlifting focuses on compound movements and functional strength. If you choose to follow a bodybuilding exercise plan, you’ll be focusing on isolating muscle groups.

Bodybuilders are mainly concerned with muscle size and aesthetics. Streetlifting competitions only judge you based on your overall strength, no matter what you look like.

Streetlifting also borrowed some elements from powerlifting. Similar to powerlifting, with streetlifting you want to attempt to lift your absolute max weight. The differences come down to the exercises themselves.

A barbell with chains attached to it

Powerlifting competitions only include the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. Most streetlifting competitions include the squat. But you’re also going to be doing exercises like muscle ups, pull ups (or chin ups), and dips. All of those exercises would be performed with added weight.

There are two other big ways that streetlifting is different from other traditional forms of strength training: the setting and the workout equipment.

When you’re lifting weights, you’ll most likely be in a commercial gym (or a home gym). With streetlifting you can get in a good street workout anywhere. After all, that’s where streetlifting gets its name.

Streetlifters take advantage of the great outdoors, using equipment like parallel bars or free park equipment. This is one of the best things about streetlifting. It’s accessible to everyone. While getting in a good street workout, you’ll also be challenged with how to adapt to different environments.

Weightlifting Competition at Gym

In streetlifting, the goal is to achieve functional strength – the kind of fitness that is useful in real-world activities. It’s about more than just lifting weights; it’s about training your body to handle various physical challenges efficiently.

Streetlifting also places a strong emphasis on progressive overload and training diversity. Athletes are encouraged to gradually increase the difficulty of their workouts, whether by adding extra weights, increasing repetitions, or incorporating more advanced movements. This approach ensures continual muscle growth and adaptation, crucial for building strength and improving your overall physical health.

So if you want a more holistic approach to physical health that you won’t get by simply lifting more in the gym, streetlifting could be your new favorite way to train.

Equipment for Streetlifting

The great thing about streetlifting is that you don’t need much to get you started. But the best streetlifting equipment will definitely enhance your experience and performance.

Picture of Gymnastic Rings

Essential Gear

  1. Gloves: A good pair of gloves is crucial for grip and preventing blisters and calluses, especially when performing pull ups and bar exercises.

  2. Appropriate Footwear: Footwear is essential for maintaining balance and stability. Choose shoes with good grip and support. When you squat, you want to make sure that you’re able to position your feet correctly. A good pair of shoes will help you with that.

  3. Comfortable Clothing: Opt for clothing that allows a full range of motion. It should be breathable and flexible, accommodating movements like muscle ups without restriction.

Optional Equipment

  1. Weighted Vests: These vests make your bodyweight exercises more challenging. Weighted vests are also a great way to build strength while you’re going about your daily routine. Try wearing one while you do chores around your house or when you’re out for a walk.

  2. Resistance Bands: Versatile and portable, resistance bands can add an extra challenge to your workout. They are great for warming up and can be used to assist or increase the difficulty of movements like dips.

  3. Portable Pull-Up Bars: For those who prefer to train at home or have limited access to street workout parks, portable pull-up bars are a great investment. They are convenient and expand the range of exercises you can perform.

Selecting Quality Gear

  • Research: Invest time in researching the available options. Look for reviews and recommendations, especially from seasoned streetlifting athletes.

  • Durability vs. Cost: While cost-effectiveness is important, consider the longevity and durability of the equipment. It’s better to invest in gear that will last longer and provide safety and comfort.

  • Fit and Comfort: Make sure the gear fits well and feels comfortable during your workout. Ill-fitting equipment can hinder your performance and even cause injuries.

Cost-Effective Alternatives

  • DIY Equipment: For those on a tight budget, there are tons of DIY solutions out there. You can use laundry detergent bottles as weights or fill up a backpack with some books to act as a weighted vest.

  • Second-Hand Gear: Consider buying second-hand gear from reliable sources. Many athletes sell their gear when upgrading, and these items are often in good condition. Try Facebook marketplace or Ebay.

  • Multi-Functional Gear: Buy gear that can be used for more than one type of exercise. For example, opt for a squat rack that also comes with a pull up bar.

The right tools can be a game-changer in your streetlifting journey. If you want to amp up your bodyweight training and upgrade your workouts, invest in the right gear.

First Aid Kits on White Background

Safety Tips and Injury Prevention

As with any workout, before starting you should check in with a healthcare professional (especially if you have any concerns). Nothing puts a damper on your new exercise program quite like an injury.

Importance of Warming Up and Cooling Down

  1. Warming Up: Begin each session with a warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints for the physical activity ahead. This can include dynamic stretching, light calisthenics exercises like jumping jacks or push ups, and gentle bodyweight movements. Warming up increases blood flow, enhances flexibility, and reduces the risk of muscle strains.

  2. Cooling Down: After a workout, you need to cool down to help your body recover. This can include static stretching. Focus on major muscle groups used during the session. Cooling down also helps to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.

Common Streetlifting Injuries and How to Avoid Them

  • Muscle Strains: This happens when your muscles are overworked or not properly warmed up. To avoid them, make sure you have a good warm up routine. And, more importantly, don’t do too much too soon.

  • Joint Injuries: These can happen due to incorrect form, especially in exercises like squats and dips. Pay attention to joint alignment and movement techniques.

  • Tendonitis: Overuse of certain muscle groups can lead to tendonitis. Do different exercises to ensure all muscle groups are worked evenly.

The Role of Proper Technique for Safety

  • Technique First: Before increasing weight or intensity, focus on mastering the correct form. This is crucial for exercises like pull ups and muscle ups, where improper technique can lead to shoulder or back injuries.

  • Progressive Training: Gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts. Jumping into advanced exercises too quickly is a recipe for disaster.

When to Seek Professional Guidance or Coaching

  • Beginner’s Needs: If you’re a beginner, consider seeking guidance from a professional coach or personal trainer, especially for complex movements.

  • Form and Technique Check: Even experienced athletes can benefit from occasional coaching sessions to ensure their form and technique are correct.

  • Injury Recovery: If you’ve suffered an injury, work with a physical therapist or other healthcare professional to safely return to your workout routine.

Avoiding major injuries in streetlifting is totally possible if you take things slow and listen to your body. Sure, it’s great and all to be working out at 20 or 25 years old, but what about 30, 40, or 50 and beyond? You’re never too old to get stronger so keep longevity in mind when you’re planning out your streetlifting routine.

If you do end up with an injury, seek medical advice. If your healthcare professional suggests cold therapy to help you recover faster, there are lots of options for cost-effective and efficient cold therapy machines.

Basic Streetlifting Exercises for Beginners

A Man Doing a Tricep Dip

So you’re ready to start getting stronger and healthier with streetlifting. Start here with the basics.

  1. Pull-Ups:

    • How to Perform: Grip the pull-up bar with palms facing away from you, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hang with arms fully extended. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, then lower back down with control.

    • Modifications: Beginners can start with assisted pull-ups using resistance bands or performing negative pull-ups (slowly lower yourself down).

    • Progressions: Increase reps, add weight, or try variations like muscle ups for advanced training.

  2. Dips:

    • How to Perform: On parallel bars, grip the bars and hoist yourself up, arms straight. Lower your body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then push back up.

    • Modifications: Beginners can start with bench dips or use resistance bands for assistance.

    • Progressions: Add weight for increased difficulty, or try different grips to target various muscle groups.

  3. Push-Ups:

    • How to Perform: Begin in a plank position, hands under your shoulders, body straight from head to heels. Lower yourself until your chest nearly touches the floor, then push back up.

    • Modifications: Beginners can start with knee push-ups or inclined push-ups.

    • Progressions: Increase reps, perform variations (like diamond push-ups), or add weight.

  4. Deadlifts:

    • How to Perform: Stand with feet hip-width apart, a barbell in front of your shins. Hinge at the hips and knees to grip the bar. Keep your back straight as you stand up with the weight.

    • Modifications: Beginners can start with lighter weights or practice the movement using a broomstick or resistance bands.

    • Progressions: Gradually increase the weight.

  5. Squats:

    • How to Perform: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body as if sitting back into a chair, keeping your chest up. Lower until thighs are parallel to the ground, then rise back up.

    • Modifications: Beginners can use body weight only or perform squats against a wall.

    • Progressions: Add weight, perform single-leg variations, or increase reps.

A Man Hanging on a Pull up Bar

Focus on Form

  • Always prioritize form over speed or weight. Poor form not only hinders progress but can also lead to injuries.

  • Don’t add reps or weight until you’re sure that you’re doing the movement correctly.

I’m sure you’ve heard this mantra before but it doesn’t hurt to hear it again: consistency is key. Whether it’s a calisthenics workout or gymnastics, you won’t see the progress you want unless you’re putting in the work on a consistent basis.

Sample Beginner Streetlifting Routine

Now that you’ve got a good foundation to start streetlifting, I’ve put together a weekly plan for you to get started. Of course, this is just a suggestion since fitness isn’t one-size-fits-all. Assess your own fitness level, listen to your body, and, by all means, if you need an extra day of rest, take it.

From above composition of dumbbells and massage double ball and tape and tubular expanders surrounding light box with wake up and workout words placed on white surface of table

Weekly Plan

  • Day 1: Upper Body Focus

    • Pull-Ups: 3 sets of as many reps as possible (AMRAP)

    • Push-Ups: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

    • Dips: 3 sets of AMRAP

  • Day 2: Lower Body and Core

    • Squats: 3 sets of 15-20 reps

    • Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps per leg

    • Plank: 3 sets of 30 seconds to 1 minute

  • Day 3: Rest or Active Recovery

    • Light jogging, walking, or yoga

  • Day 4: Full Body Workout

    • Burpees: 3 sets of 10 reps

    • Mountain Climbers: 3 sets of 30 seconds

    • Jump Squats: 3 sets of 15 reps

  • Day 5: Rest or Active Recovery

    • Light jogging, walking, or yoga

  • Day 6: Flexibility and Balance

    • Stretching routine focusing on major muscle groups

    • Balance exercises like standing on one leg

  • Day 7: Rest

Guidelines on Sets, Reps, and Rest Periods

  • Sets and Reps: Start with a manageable number of sets and reps, gradually increasing as you get stronger.

  • Rest Periods: Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets. If you feel like you need a longer break, add an additional 30 seconds.

Close-Up Shot of a Typewriter

Tips on Tracking Progress and Adjusting the Routine

  1. Keep a Workout Journal: Record each exercise, sets, reps, and any additional weight used. Note how you felt during each workout.

  2. Listen to Your Body: If an exercise feels too easy, consider increasing the reps, sets, or adding weight. If it’s too challenging, reduce the intensity.

  3. Regular Assessment: Every few weeks, assess your progress. Are you able to do more reps? Have you increased your sets? The goal is to challenge yourself with each workout but without overdoing it.

  4. Variety is Key: As you progress, introduce new exercises to the routine to continue challenging yourself.

  5. Seek Feedback: If you have the funds, consider hiring a personal trainer so that you can get personalized advice.

As long as you stay consistent and stick to your workout plan, you’ll reach your goals. Stay patient and enjoy the process.

Nutrition and Recovery

Streetlifting can help you build strength while increasing your muscular endurance. To reach your highest potential, your nutrition and recovery have to be on point.

Variety of Dishes

Nutritional Guidelines to Support Streetlifting Training

  1. Balanced Diet: Focus on a balanced diet rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Proteins are essential for muscle repair and growth, carbohydrates provide the energy needed for intense workouts, and fats are vital for overall health.

  2. Protein Intake: Include a good source of protein in every meal. Options include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, and plant-based proteins like lentils and chickpeas.

  3. Healthy Carbohydrates: Opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to provide the necessary fuel for your training. They also supply essential vitamins and minerals.

  4. Fats: Include healthy fats from sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil, which are necessary for joint health and hormone production.

Importance of Hydration and Sleep for Recovery

  1. Hydration: You need to make sure that you’re drinking enough water, especially during and after workouts. A good rule of thumb to follow is half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 190 lbs, you should aim for 95 ounces of water daily. Water helps with muscle recovery, maintains energy levels, and prevents dehydration.

  2. Quality Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Sleep is when most of the muscle repair and recovery occurs. Lack of sleep can hinder performance and recovery.

Medicines on the Table

Recommendations on Supplements

  1. Protein Supplements: If you struggle to meet your protein needs through diet alone, consider a protein supplement like whey or plant-based protein powders.

  2. Creatine: Known for enhancing performance in high-intensity activities like streetlifting, creatine can be a valuable addition to your supplement regimen.

  3. Multivitamins: To ensure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients, a multivitamin can be beneficial, especially if your diet lacks variety.

  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Supplements like fish oil can aid in joint health and inflammation reduction.

Supplements can be a valuable addition to your health and wellness routine. But it’s important to remember that supplements should complement, not replace, a healthy diet. Always consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist before starting any supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

Incorporating these nutritional guidelines and recovery practices into your routine will significantly contribute to your overall success and well-being in streetlifting. Remember, what you do outside of your training – from the food you eat to the sleep you get – plays a massive role in how you perform and progress in this demanding sport.

Building a Streetlifting Community

What so many people love about streetlifting is the community that it’s built on. The connections you make really add to those “feel-good” moments when you’re working out.

Finding or Creating Local Streetlifting Groups

  1. Local Gyms and Fitness Centers: Many gyms now offer street workout or weighted calisthenics classes. Joining these classes can be a great way to meet potential workout buddies.

  2. Public Parks and Outdoor Gyms: These are common spots for streetlifters. Regularly training at these locations can help you connect with others who are also into streetlifting.

  3. Create Your Own Group: If there aren’t existing groups in your area, consider starting your own. Use social media platforms or community boards to invite others to join.

Faceless multiracial sport team stacking hands on court

Leveraging Online Communities for Support and Motivation

  1. Social Media Groups: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit have numerous street workout and weighted calisthenics groups where members share tips, progress, and organize meet-ups.

  2. Forums and Blogs: Participate in online forums and follow blogs dedicated to streetlifting and calisthenics. These can be valuable sources of information and inspiration.

  3. Virtual Challenges: Sign up for online challenges or competitions, which can be a fun way to stay motivated and connect with the global streetlifting community.

Benefits of Training with Others

  1. Accountability: Having a training partner or group helps in maintaining consistency in your workouts. It’s harder to skip a session when you know others are counting on your presence.

  2. Learning: Training with others, especially those who are more experienced, can be incredibly educational. You can learn new techniques, exercises, and training methods.

  3. Camaraderie: The bonds formed through shared challenges and achievements in streetlifting can lead to lasting friendships.

  4. Motivation: Seeing others progress and succeed can be a powerful motivator. It encourages a healthy competitive spirit and inspires you to push your limits.

Advancing in Streetlifting

As you become a stronger streetlifter, you’ll probably want to explore more complex techniques. This progression will keep streetlifting fun and exciting for you (rather than sticking to the same routine).

Success Text

When and How to Progress to More Advanced Techniques

  1. Mastery of Basics: Ensure you have mastered basic movements with proper form such as pull-ups, squats, and dips.

  2. Progressive Overload: Gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts. This can be done by adding more reps, increasing sets, or adding weight.

  3. Advanced Movements: Once you’re comfortable with the basics, start introducing advanced exercises like muscle-ups, handstands, or lever progressions.

Incorporating Additional Equipment or Challenges

  1. Gymnastics Rings: If you have a home gym, gymnastics rings are a challenging but fun way to build your streetlifting skills. They’re definitely meant for more advanced athletes though so it’s best to wait until you reach that level.

Exploring Competitions or Public Performances

  1. Local Competitions: Participating in local streetlifting competitions can be a great way to test your skills and meet others in the community.

  2. Online Challenges: Many online platforms host challenges where you can compete against others globally.

  3. Public Performances: Demonstrating your skills in public, like at a park or community event, can be both exhilarating and a great way to inspire others.

To succeed in streetlifting you’ll need patience, persistence, and dedication. It’s important to listen to your body and progress at a pace that’s right for you. You want to avoid injuring yourself so that you can be in it for the long haul.

And also, remember to celebrate the small wins while you’re enjoying the process.

Don't Quit Message


By now you’re probably pumped to start your streetlifting journey. Streetlifting is a beginner-friendly style of strength training because you can just focus on mastering the basic bodyweight movements first. If you want to see your muscles grow while developing mental resilience, you’re ready to start streetlifting.

If you want to workout with a partner, streetlifting is a sport that encourages community. As streetlifting grows in popularity, it’ll be even easier to find like-minded people.

In the meantime, embrace the challenges and celebrate your own victories, no matter how small.

The right workout gear can have a huge impact on your performance and progress. The best streetlifting equipment doesn’t have to break the bank either. They’re designed to support your training goals and help you achieve new heights in your streetlifting journey.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, there’s always something new to learn and ways to grow in the world of streetlifting. So, gear up, stay focused, and let’s lift the limits of what you can achieve!

Additional Resources

  • ISF Official Streetlifting Rules – If you’re looking to learn all the nitty gritty details, you can check out the official rules according to the International Streetlifting Federation (ISF).

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